Saturday, 26 April 2014

Eating in Italy or: Eataly

A few years ago, during our stay in the Piemont, a region in the North of Italy, we visited Torino. A city with tons of history, including the car factory with their test driving circuit on the roof top: Lingotto. On top of the building the Agnelli family, who founded FIAT in 1899, now runs an art gallery. Of course we had to see the exhibition. The truth is: people (like us) visit the gallery, because it allows you an easy access to the rooftop. I don't know how it is today, but a few years back we walked all over the roof and beyond.

In case you wonder what this has to do with Eating and Eataly, please be patient. I am developing an arc of suspense here. Or: I just love to show you these photos which date back to 2009.
 Around the old factory you see housing districts where the factory workers used to live. 
  Now that the car production is no longer situated in the Lingotto, the building has been transformed to a hotel and a shopping mall.
 This is the Agnelli gallery on top of the Lingotto, in the back you can see something interesting which is close to a heliport.
This is the turn for speed!

This is how I remember me on top of the Lingotto: casually chique, very classy and cool. Taupe T-Shirt, some Silhouette-shades, navy blue capri pants. Not so bad, my memory over all, I mean, this looks damn cool, right?
 ... until I see the whole picture:
  Those sandals! Oh my. Sorry for that! 

Btw: it is almost impossible to find a cool posture while standing in the steep turn. So I won't excuse for akward posing. I did my best not to fall over!
 *SIGH* What a beauty!! 
At both ends of the building ramps led the cars to the testing circuit.
I don't know about you, but I find these structures absolutely breathtaking!
I have never been to Detroit, but this is probably the better version of a past time. In Detroit many structures have been abondoned and destroyed. I am so happy, the decided to look after the Lingotto.

 They probably had no eyes for the view.
Torino underwent difficult times, due to the changes in the automobile industry during the second half of the 20th century.
Today other, new industries offer jobs. Retail is big in Torino.
Which brings me to Eataly! Back in 2009 Eataly was exotic, something new, something exciting. Today it is still exciting, less exotic and not new anymore.

For those of you who have never heard of Eataly before: It is like a high-end IKEA fo food. Ok, maybe not the best picture. But it explains a lot.

The Slow Food movement originated in the Piemont (please correct me if I am not well informed=wrong). On a former vermouth factory now a supermarket for Italian food offers only the best products which can be found in the different regions in Italy.

When we chose our apartment in Rome (oh no, Rome again! Yes! :-)),  I deliberately chose an area close th Ostiense, because that's where Rome's Eataly is located.
"Our" street in Testaccio, walking distance from Ostiense
The living room windows
You could not enter the building without walking past the concierge. I call this authoriatrian architecture.

While being in Rome we visited Eataly probably three times!? I did not just enjoy the best pizza Marinara during our stay, but also enjoyed a lot of people-watching. Italians love food. Sunday afternoon the place reminded me a lot of IKEA. Crowded with people all ages, united by their passion for food. Slow food.

This shelf offers a range of Risotto rice. Not "rice" overall, only the risotto rice. Italians who shop at Eatly must be world-experts for Risotto. 

The photo above only shows a small part of the rice section. Inside Eataly the same effect set in that affects me while eating: I can not take food photos. So I asked Mr Paula to take photo for me. I was simply way too excited, walking up and down all the aisles. 

I see these photos for the first time. Mr Paula probably took them because the cans and bottles look really nice. I agree!

 I have spotted these honey jars in a posh grocery store in Hamburg last year.
 In the back you can catch a glimpse of the overall atmosphere: relaxed, cool, it does not look like a supermarket at all.
 Could be Mr Paula fell for the Italian word "intero"?
Next the the cowmilk they sell soy- and rice-milk. The Italian soy milk was delicious.    

The prices are no bargains. But people line up at the cashier stations. In the end it's all about priorities. Of course Rome does not exist of Eataly alone. There is Vanni ...
 And then there is Giolitti ...
 Ad incredibly tasty bread and pizza of all kinds from the Panificio ...
Wooden boards outside the bakery invite the clients to stop here and eat their fresh pizza. 

You could say the experience in Italy educated me. Today I had the choice between conventional lemons from Spain or organic lemons from Italy. Guess which lemons I brought home. Not these from the Villa Borghese:
It is time to leave Rome. We are moving on. All except this little gem, who loves to return every single day:
Do you notice? This time I left out the worms. de-grossing the content so to say.

I've spent a lot of time in the kitchen recently. One, because it is THE place for bird watching. Two, because love cooking. The label "vegan" is going to grow larger soon.

Attila Hildmann is the author of vegan cookbooks, which helped me to not only change my diet to vegan, but mostly to ENJOY the vegan diet. His books have been translated to English recently and I will feature some of my all time favourite recipes here. Sharpen your pencils!


Monday, 21 April 2014

whereabouts: Hubertuswarte, Lainzer Tiergarten

The weather forecast for this weekend has not been too promising but still ok enough to punt on the Scotland-gear and go for a walk.

The Lainzer Tiergarten can be quite crowded on Sundays. It has been almost 4 months since our last visit at the park. I expected the park to be deserted, because of the weather forecast. The parking area was full and the main paths were busy. We made a turn at the Rohrhaus and went for a new destination, the Hubertuswarte, a look-out in the middle of the woods.

The plan was to see some green plants. This is what we got: 
On our way to the look-out we walked through unfamiliar settings, as if we had been translocated straight to the Siberian taiga. The soil was wet and dark, mosquitos were in the air and the trees along the path were young, with a light foliation, just like I would expect the trees in Siberia to be in the summer months, in a climate were trees won't grow as large as they do in Austria, due to a short growing season. In the Lainzer Tiergarten you find trees aged 100, 200, 300 years and older. Due to the quite recent deforestation, this forest is young, with light barks.
 The tower comes with an intimidating appearance. Built in 1937, it embodies the style of that time:
 An enamel relief has been vandalised during World War II. Soldiers shot at the relief just for fun. The owners of the tower decided to keep the relief in the damaged state.
 Two information panels tell the whole story about the tower in the woods:
Sorry, only in German
Sisi loved to climb towers in the woods to enjoy the views. So did we.
I did not take any photos on top of the tower, it was really windy up there. I did not stay up long enough to unpack the camera.
Old school picknick bench, new style: hikers and their devices. 
The appearence of the tower matched the overall weather situation. Gray, not too sunny. 
 Not too friendly, no? Am I the only one to think of a watch tower?
I was just kidding at the beginning - the trees actually were VERY green. Mission accomplished.

 It is always good to know your goals:
Metric, not miles. The Lainzer Tor is were we were coming from.
We continued our round and on our way we discovered new landscapes, can you believe we are still in Viennese, in the 13th district to be precise.
 Some trees brought me to my knees:
 Faces in Things. It seems as if not everyone sees what I see.
No walk inside the Lainzer Tiergarten without a boar-watch. Here it is:
 (in the distance)
High seat to the left, boar to the right.
The closer we got to the exit gate, the less we worried about getting wet and I halted for some  dandelion portraits. Not only to take a photo, but also out of curisosity. I wanted to see how far into detail the Sigma DP2Merrill can go in low light, me sitting on the ground:

An orange buggy always forms a nice contrast in the background.

So this was our walk. 9km later, we returned dry at the starting point. The rain gear served as a training unit on my back.

And it might not be apparent, but I did enjoy the walk. So did my company.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Where the Ancestors Rest

Neustift is known for its famous Heurigens, situated in the North-Western outskirts of Vienna. In my family, Neustift is known for the family grave at the cemetery in Neustift am Walde.

The paths which lead to our family grave are steep. The overall impression is somehow abandoned, but the place is a sanctuary for birds, just like a tranquil park, with so many trees and no cats!
Spring in Neustift am Walde, the cemetery
The reason for our visit was my grandmother's 104th birthday. Aries! The inveterate optimists among the signs of the zodiac. Good for her. Even better for us :-))
I once drove my grandmother to the grave, a drive-in experience so to say. This is not common in Austria at all. Is it ok to say, it was entertaining? Us sitting in my FIAT Uno, my foot clenching on the brake pedal, hoping that the downward facing car would stay in place, between the rows of tombs?

The cemetery faces North. The vineyards can be found on the slopes opposite the valley, facing South.
A grave with a view
We usually walk straight to our "neighbourhood", the family grave. Almost all other rows are strange to us. You have no reasons to walk down other rows. Except for paying your grandmother's cousin a visit. When you do so, you arrive at a different place. The light is different. The views, but also the design of the tombs. We walk past the tombstones, we read the names and dates. We wonder and imagine.

Last Saturday was overcast and grey.
Today was overcast and wet.
Lets hope for a sunny Easter weekend!


Morning sun at the Paula Residence

Thursday, 17 April 2014

whereabouts: Crimean Tatars' settlement

Crimean Tatars settlement in Koreiz, Crimea, May 2013

Of all the photos I have taken in the Ukraine during my stay in 2013, this photo is special. It matters to me. Over the weeks I had become familiar with this sight: A Crimean Tatar woman. Every evening she would stand at the corner of the street, burn her waste and watch it burn, stir around in the waste with a log. Burning waste, a ritual.

The corner is situated in the village where I stays, close to the coast. On my route home from the bus stop I would walk past this corner. All the days before I had not dared to take this photo. But this time – it was around the end of my stay – I did not pass by but and climbed down the small hill from the upper road and moved closer to the scene. My camera does not have a zoom, the zoom is in my legs.

During the Soviet area, the Crimean peninsula has served as a sanatorium where reupatble workers from all over the Soviet empire would spend their vacation. The Crimean peninsula was known for its pure air.When I planned my vacation, I was very looking forward to staying in a healthy environment surrounded by pure air, only to find myself in a toxic environment.

The evening we arrived in Kiev, we already noticed the fumes. To be precise: we noticed the fumes even before we had landed. You could see heavy fumes wandering around the outskirs of Kiev from the air. Fumes in colours we don't get to see in Austria. What we did not know back then, was that these fumes were resulting from fires in the woods, but from waste and that they would accompany us during our stay. Every single day. From dusk. Till dawn.

I would have to close my windows in the early morning hours as well in the evening. And in the afternoon. That's when the Crimean tatars' burnt their waste. All kinds of waste. Paper. Plastic. Wood. Plastic And more plastic. Having spent most of my life in Austria, I am not used to the fumes of burnt plastic. The fumes almost ruined my vacation. I turned into a Pavlovian dog: as soon as the fumes entered the room, I would rush to the windows and shut them.

My host repeatedly went across the street and told them to stop with the waste-burning. For years she had been trying to convince their neighbours to stop burning waste. She did it for two reasons: one, because she hated it and two, because she felt responsinble for my wellbeing. It was useless. The neighbours would not quit burning their waste.

Why would someone burn waste in the middle of the neighbourhood? You might think this photo is the direct response to a non-existent waste management. Which is not the case. Waste management exists. It is not the best around, but still better than, lets say, the waste management in Southern Italy. Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars live together on the Crimean pensinsula, door to door, but found only Crimean Tatars in the street, burning their waste.

I experience such a careless behaviour – in a slightly modified way – at home in Vienna. My neighbours. They open the door of their car just before they leave, so they can toss their litter. They leave and their garbage is spread in the street. And me? I watch this and cringe. Needless to say my moved to Vienna from a country in Southern Europe? Outch. I have enterted thin ice by now, asking questions like 'Why wouldn't they give up this behaviour?' Racism did not just knock on my door, it already took a seat, right next to me.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

whereabouts: bathhouse cafeteria in Yalta

The current situation in the Ukraine exceeds my understanding.

My story would read like "A few months ago, the Ukraine called the E.C. for big money. The EC refused. The Ukraine went out of control. People died. Crimea became part of the Russian empire. More people die. The EC plans to transfer big money to the Ukraine."

Since I am obviously not in the position to report, I ask my photos to tell their story, like the one about the bathouse in Yalta.

Early evening at the баняin Yalta, Crimea, May 2013

Sunday, 13 April 2014

whereabouts Vienna: Running along the river bed

Sunday evening, time to recollect the temporary newpaper stands.

It seems I am not the only person who fancies a run. Only that I am not a runner. Every spring I start from Zero. I leave the couch and follow the "from couch to 5k" programme. The programme gets me from 0k to 5k in 9 weeks. No weakened immune system. No hurting joints. Success guaranteed. A mild winter and early spring allowed an early start, so I already arrived in week 4 by mid April. 

I have been following the programme since 2011. Every year I experience the fun and satisfaction of constant progress. Over the years a group of Couch25k postings gathered. 

Today I walked the route I would normally run/walk. In the evening the late sunlight creates nice lights. At the moment this is my favourite route. I enjoy the route, despite the polluted air, caused by heavy traffic. The route runs along the metro line 4, along the Wienfluss river and leads from Schönbrunn to Margaretengürtel. You will notice: there is a lot to see. Especially when you run on a slow path like I do. 

Lets start!

U4 station building Schönbrunn. Design: Otto Wagner, late 19th century
Looking East, metro tracks and the river bed to the left (the river is so small, you can't see it)
 Some parts of the route are a challenging

The Jugend&Volk publishing house building (destroyed in 2017)

 You'll have to take a close look to find the plants along the route

 A junction. We choose left.

 The route is busy throughout the day.

 Buildings across the river bed

A common setting

 Backyard along the route

A peek through the fence

The rear view of this building

 Mozart makes it everywhere

 A look back. In the distance you see the station building of Schönbrunn

The only unpleasant part of the route is where they overbuilt the river bed with a multy storey car park.

The building also hosts a fitness studio.

Every time I run past this bus stop, I see people waiting for the bus to arrive.

The nice light sets in.

 When I am lucky, the green lights await me.

Time check. Here you see the cause for the bad air. Traffic. Constant traffic. :-((

The closer to the city centre I get, the greener the route gets.

Social housing from the 1930's across the river be.

Running past the U4 station Längenfeldgass.

Fountain in Vienna. Well ...

Another look back

Yay, the bird is in controll!

A new hotel, not quite impressive. The traffic lane can be tricky to cross. 
8/10 times I am lucky and no cars get in my way.

A peek inside/through the metro station Längenfeldgasse.
The neuralgic spot: there the bicycle lane makes a 90°-turn and the promenade shrinks by 50%.
edit: it's not neuralgic anymore! They moved the bicycle lane.  

A popular shortcut

This is where cyclists test their skillfullness (see the gap in the rim?)

Danger zone: Please don't hurt your head.

Another danger zone: please don't run/cycle into me! 90°-turns are awful. 


This urban park was built in the middle of a former no man's land


White men can't jump? ;-)

A workshop under the highline 

You almost made it. 1 more km

An urban scene

One of my favourite views along the route

Where the Wienzeile meets the Gürtel. Surprisingly green.

The last station building, Margaretengürtel makes its first appearance

Main fire station Mariahilf

Another shortcut

Tram tracks heading northwest

A ridiculous bicycle lane. Please let us use the streets instead of this. Thank you. 
edit: the bicycle lane has been relocated.  

A not so impressive river in an impressive river bed

Colourful signs along the route

Playgrounds for the masses

The magnetism of bicycle lanes ;-)

I would guess that 11/10 people don't know Wackenroder-Brücke in Vienna.

To prevent any misunderstanding: I DO find this route very attractive. The rough charm is exactly to my liking. What I also like is how populated the route is. There is almost always something going on. 

Ahem. Those, who were bored beyond belief during the tour: I get to see these sights 3 times a week, twice! (return). ;-)